Rosemarie Emanuele

"Math Geek Mom"

Although she holds a Ph.D. in economics from Boston College, Rosemarie Emanuele is a professor and the chair of the Department of Mathematics at Ursuline College in Pepper Pike, Ohio, just outside of Cleveland. She loves to teach math but also pursues research related to the economics of nonprofit organizations and volunteer labor, and has published in both economics and interdisciplinary journals — as well as in the book that inspired this blog. She is the proud mother of a wonderful daughter.

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Most Recent Articles

December 15, 2011
Economics is sometimes called "the Dismal Science," and I admit that I try to counteract this by bringing entertaining topics to my Economics as well as to my Math classes. My hope is that these topics will leave the student with a "hook" that will help them remember what was said.
December 8, 2011
I often begin classes in Economics with a discussion of how values of things are determined. I point out that the price of some things may or may not accurately reflect their importance in our lives. For example, water and air are vitally important in our lives, but often very inexpensive. Alternatively, diamonds are very expensive, but do little to sustain or improve our lives. The reason for this apparent paradox is found in the fact that prices are determined by the interaction of both supply and demand, allowing rare things that are not vital to our lives to become expensive, and important things that are readily available to become relatively inexpensive. I thought of this lately as I looked around at the current bustle and remembered a sign I saw in a store many years ago. Trying to encourage seasonal buying, it said "We make Christmas Cheaper."
December 1, 2011
In geometry, we define “similar” structures as being of the same shape but of different sizes. I found myself thinking of this recently as we drove through a town in New York named “Ludingtonville.” It reminded me of a statue in the middle of my home town that shows a figure on a horse obviously shouting something to anyone who would listen.
November 17, 2011
Since I will not be writing for Inside Higher Ed this time next week, I thought I would take some time this week to reflect on some of the things I am thankful for at this time of the year. I am sure that everyone could add to such a list from their own lives.
November 10, 2011
I remember one occasion, in my first year of graduate school, when a classmate asked a question in class. I have no memory of what the question was, but I recall the professor’s answer vividly. He told her "that question cannot be asked."
November 3, 2011
In economics, we sometimes talk about "reservation wages." These are the lowest wages that one would accept to participate in the formal labor market.
October 28, 2011
In statistics one finds the experiment of flipping a coin and observing if the coin lands with heads facing up or with tails facing up. This is the central idea behind probability distributions that can be applied to many different situations involving uncertainty. I thought of the idea of a two sided coin recently when I realized that I am somewhat ambiguous about the coming holiday of Halloween.
October 21, 2011
One of the things I like most about math and teaching math is that there are often several different ways to get to an answer. For example, if one wanted to differentiate the square of a binomial function, one could multiply (FOIL) it out and then take the derivative, or one could use the product rule or even the chain rule. I often show students how the same answer can be arrived at in multiple ways, filling the board with several different calculations that miraculously all give the same value in the end. It is then that I am tempted to write the letters “Q.E.D.” on the board, which, as we used to joke in graduate school, is Latin for “ta da!”  
October 13, 2011
The idea of a “double blind study” is central to the use of statistics as it applies to medicine. Such a study occurs if the person assigning medication does not know who receives true medicine and who is given a placebo, and neither do the patients or those providing the care. Such a structure attempts to remove the “placebo effect” on the part of both the patient and the treating doctor. Unfortunately, I found myself thinking of this quite a bit lately, as I faced the reality that my little sister is facing the battle of her life.
October 6, 2011
Last week, I saw a news clip about a Nobel Prize winning economist, Joseph Stiglitz, speaking on behalf of the protesters in Manhattan who are calling for radical change in our economic system that currently allows the very wealthy to pay less of a share of their earnings to taxes than do many of the people who work for them. I was intrigued because one of my advisors on my dissertation was a graduate student at Yale University when Dr. Stiglitz taught there, and always spoke with great awe of that professor whom he had known long ago.

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